Routines, rituals, & inspiration for those at home.
After a couple of weeks or more of being at home, you may be feeling a little stir crazy. Conversely you may have simply melted into the sofa and become a lazy slug. If you are struggling with how to fill the time or feel motivated, here are some basics for staying home and enjoying the time you have away from the world.
Give yourself a routine the way you have when you are working.
First, I feel much better when I get up and get started at around the same time every day.
Since I work from home and have for a long time, I figured out that I am much happier when I only sleep in occasionally. Most people function better on a sleep schedule if it is possible to do it.
Secondly, I have a lot of pain in the mornings due to fibromyalgia, so I stretch first thing and drink the glass of water on my night stand. Next I wash my face, brush my teeth, and comb my hair. Most of the time I put on shorts and a t-shirt, but sometimes I climb back up on my bed and write. My routine starts the day with self care and assures a good mood.
Self care and self respect create a positive tone. In fact, your personal morning rituals set the tone for the whole day, so go ahead, brush those teeth.
If I look at social media before I start my day, I avoid the news and opt for something encouraging. I am trying to avoid drama, allow nothing depressing. Instead, I quickly check in with my fan page and say hello. Then, I read something positive and uplifting. Most importantly, I don’t get bogged down there.
Facetiously, we call our next set of morning rituals our farm chores. (We don’t have a farm, but we have four furry friends who share our home.)
Every morning we open the drapes and invite the sunshine in.
No matter which of us gets up first, we open most if not all of the drapes. After letting the light in, we let the dogs out and feed them as well as the cats. Then, before we do anything else, we take care of those in our charge which usually involves some joyful barking and purring.
We also turn on a few lights, more if it is raining, and Chris makes our first cup of coffee. If you live alone, make that first cup of coffee or ice water in a beautiful cup or glass and find a great place to relax and take in the morning. Start your day with something pleasant.
Have morning coffee talks, afternoon wine chats, facetime, or patio connections.
Our most vital ritual is sitting in our huge picture window in the light and chatting while we drink coffee. Before the shelter in place, we did this mostly on the weekends or after Chris got home from work in the afternoons. In recent weeks, while sheltering in place, we met under the window every morning or after I finished writing for the day.
However we manage it, at some point every day, we sit and have a cup of coffee together. My daughter and her husband named their time “coffee talks,” so that their kids understand it is time to give mom and dad space to connect and regroup. This daily coming together and discussing whatever needs to be discussed or just enjoying each other’s company is good for partnerships.
If you have kids, everyone can prepare breakfast or meals together. What better time to teach them to cook or teach some independence?
During more ordinary times, when our grands stay over, we make bacon and eggs, and something baked like muffins. Each child does their part. One sets the table, another adds napkins and locates cups. One of the kids always helps make the muffins, and another helps Grandpa make scrambled eggs or butters toast. We want the kids to know how to make the basics and what it takes to run a household, so we involve them. Check out this post: Why some kids thrive, teaching real life skills OR Raising-great-kids-takes-work-my-ten-best-parenting-grandparenting-tips.
In addition to daily coffee talks, my husband and I have a weekly state of the union.
Once a week or bi-weekly, we discuss bills, finances, or big plans in some way. These discussions are our state of the union.
We do the bills, touch base on what we have spent or need to take care of, any upcoming expenses or projects. Lately, we have been talking about gardening, repairs, the new deck, and staying home to stay safe plans. We also took a look several times at our retirement plans and savings.
Even if you are single, take some time to sit down and get a big picture of where you are financially and look at things you can change. Just one thing at a time can make a huge difference in your life. Add five or ten dollars to savings. Set it up to deposit the day you get paid automatically. Up your 401K contributions or focus on paying off a bill. Keep a running list of bills and set them all up to pay automatically. Do what you can do to make your situation better. Figure out where you can conserve and what you can do without. Give yourself a small goal to accomplish.
During state of the union or coffee talks, we might plan projects and make a list of what we need to do it. We discuss vacations and dreams, things we want to do.
One of us looks up particulars or logistics of what we discuss and then we figure out. whether it will work, when it will happen, or chuck it, shelve it, or let it ride while we contemplate. So many great ideas come from dreaming and discussing or just sitting and letting the silence make us creative.
Another important ritual for making at home experience better is to keep your home neat and clean at the level you enjoy.
Admittedly, fresh and clean always energizes me. I look around at my lovely space and feel cared for and homey. A clean house inspires me to write or cook.
From the post Minimally Speaking. “Your home can be like that. Stay-cay or every day makes sense when our homes are places we want to be.”
At some point before lunch, I do my home chores. When the house looks nice, staying at home feels better. We luxuriate in our space and feel energized. Clutter bogs us down. Even if you are not aware of it, living in a dirty house is depressing. For instance, make your bed because the room looks cleaner, and smooth cool sheets feel better. Take dirty clothes to the laundry and run a load. You will feel on top of things.
Quickly pick up clutter, clear surfaces, and run the vacuum. Finally, end up in the kitchen and unload or reload the dishwasher and wipe down the counters with cleaner or counter spray. If you are used to this routine, it will take thirty minutes to an hour for the basic clean up.
Honestly, I can write for hours after my house is clean.
In fact, I redo this simple clean up right before bed. I pick up clutter, straighten the sofa, clear the surfaces, take any dishes to the sink. Sometimes, I run my vacuum over the family room rug, so that when I get up and open all those drapes, I am greeted by an orderly clean space.
Keeping simple chores done makes you feel good about yourself and your home. Some days I am so energized I really get into it and spend a few hours on cleaning out something or organizing.
At this point you are halfway through another day and your house is cleaner, your partnership is connected, and you have some energy.
Right now during our stay at home days, my husband works on a project such as building or repairing something. In the last few weeks, we have power-washed windows and painted, planted seedlings, cleaned out closets, and built a deck. Occasionally we read, and I write instead.
If you have kids though, you get the job of teacher for a while. Keep it simple, maybe an hour and a half to two hours.
Focus on making it a positive experience. It is your job right now. I’ve watched my daughter and son in law home school and they tag team sharing the teaching. Dad does math and physical education. They do history. Mom gives lessons on reading, language, and science. They made it a goal to make it fun and teach the kids to focus. At the same time, they give them variety and their undivided attention for a couple hours a day. They homeschool outdoors sometimes or have every age do something together.
During this time at home, you can teach your kids to ride a bike, to swim, or make muffins. You can have a daily story time. Go outside if possible. Teach them hopscotch, to catch a ball, or jump rope. When all else gets crazy build a pillow fort or play hide and seek. On rainy days, put together a puzzle or teach them to cook. When else will you ever get these moments again? If you are safe at home, relish them.
Other shelter at home project ideas:
Paint the front door.
Print out photos and reframe or make a photo book for a friend or loved one.
Clean off the porch. Sweep and scour, wash, and arrange.
Power wash the deck.
Start a garden or clean out pots and replant.
Clean up your flower beds.
Weed around the mail box.
Keep a journal.
Teach yourself to do something you have always wanted to learn.
Camp out in the back yard.
Build a gate, a fence, a deck, or a swing.
Clean out the garage.
Do your taxes or file and or shred all that loose paper.
Pick out shelving, order, and install.
Make that dream closet a reality.
Clean out your cabinets.
Go through all your clothes and get rid of things you don’t wear or don’t fit.
Clean out the area under the sink or the medicine cabinet.
Make a charity box for donations.
Make this stay at home an event. A staycation.
Go through one drawer or closet.
Paint that bench or chair.
Read in your favorite chair with your favorite beverage.
Touch base with friends, family, and loved ones.
Call someone who needs to hear from you.
Facetime someone in your family.
Write a letter to or email someone important to you.
Send photos and texts to keep in touch.
During this crisis, if you are one of the those healthy and blessed enough to be sheltering in place instead of on the front lines in a hospital or in a war torn area, be grateful.
It is all in the perspective, but you will enjoy it more if you establish a routine and give yourself some goals. Remember to welcome the light, connect with someone, freshen up and care for yourself, order your spaces. Make these moments mean something if your kids are home.
Barefoot and writing,
You might also enjoy the couples post: State of the Union for couples.
Other posts you might enjoy: Train yourself and train your family. Be prepared.
For those struggling with anxiety: Trade anxiety for scripture filled prayer and move mountains.